Georgia Traffic Court
If you do not pay your ticket by the date shown on your citation you will need to appear in court, or hire an attorney to appear for you. The information on which court you are requested to appear in for the ticket can usually be found at the bottom of the ticket itself. If you just ignore the ticket, do not pay the fine and do not appear in court, you will receive a Failure to Appear (FTA) which can result in a bench warrant issued for your arrest and/or license suspension down the line if you ignore the Failure to Appear. A court will usually send you a letter notifying you of the Failure to Appear status All moving traffic violations in Georgia are considered criminal misdemeanors and thus are taken very seriously by the courts.
The officer who presented you with your ticket may or may not be present in court. It is not an automatic dismissal if the officer does not show up in the majority of traffic courts in Georgia. Either way, the judge will allow you to enter a plea and pay the fine on your court date should you choose to go that route. Many courts will offer to reduce your speed a little in exchange for a guilty plea. Remember that pleading guilty and paying the ticket usually means the offense will show up on your driving record and you will incur points based on the violation. Hiring a lawyer to appear in traffic court either with you or on your behalf could provide a better resolution such as a non-reporting violation with 0 points depending upon the violation and your driving record
Traffic school or a deferment are not viable options to prevent the ticket from showing up on your record, this may be the case in some courts but not all. Another option, but only with the judge’s approval once every five years, is to enter a plea of Nolo. Nolo is defined as a plea of no contest. This might not be recommended if you have a “clean” driving record and you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney before proceeding in this direction. Although a NOLO plea will remove the points it WILL NOT remove the violation itself from your driving record! Thus, if an insurance company, employer or anyone else pulls your driving record they will be able to see the violation.
At least two weeks prior to your court date, see if you can contest your ticket with a not guilty plea, by certified mail or fax, checking with the clerk of courts to make certain it has been received. You can contact our traffic attorneys to handle the work on your behalf, saving you time and money.
A speeding ticket fine in Georgia can average between $145 and $325 dollars but in many cities and counties traffic fines are higher and the higher the speed the more the ticket will cost. You can find out from the clerk of courts what your particular violation will cost by calling the court or looking up the citation online. Again, should you outright pay the ticket and the violation is a reporting violation with points, that is an admission of guilt and the violation and points will go on your permanent driving record, even if you live outside of Georgia.
We can help you contest your ticket.
Georgia Drivers License Point System
In the state of Georgia the following violations will give you points on your driving record as listed below:
|Reckless Driving||4 points|
|Unlawful passing school bus||6 points|
|Improper passing on hill or curve||4 points|
|15 mph but less than 19 mph||2 points|
|19 mph but less than 24 mph||3 points|
|24 mph but less than 34 mph||4 points|
|34 mph or more||6 points|
|Disobedience of any traffic-control device or traffic officer||3 points|
|Possessing an open container of an alcoholic beverage while driving||2 points|
|Failure to adequately secure a load||2 points|
|All other moving violations||3 points|
|Child restraint – 1st offense||1 point|
|Child restraint – 2nd and subsequent offense||2 points|
|Aggressive driving (A conviction of aggressive driving by a person under 21 years of age will result in a suspension of the driver’s license.)||6 points|
|HOV lane violation – 4th and subsequent offense.||1 point|
Under 21 Years of Age License Suspension
The Georgia driver’s license of any person under 21 years of age convicted of any of the following offenses shall be SUSPENDED:
- Hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident in violation of Code Section 4-6-270.
- Racing on highways or streets.
- Using a motor vehicle in fleeing or attempting to elude an officer.
- Reckless driving.
- Any offense for which four or more points are assessable under subsection (c) of Code Section 40-5-57.
- Unlawful passing of a school bus.
- Improper passing on a hill or curve.
- Exceeding the speed limit by 24 miles per hour or more.
- Purchasing an alcoholic beverage.
- Driving under the Influence.
- Aggressive Driving, Code Section 40-6-397.
- Misrepresenting age ot identity for purpose of illegally obtaining any alcoholic beverage
- The driver’s license of any person under 18 years of age who has accumulated a violation point count of four or more points within any 12 month period.
You can find a full list of Georgia Traffic Violation Codes and Points, posted in our blog.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED BY AN OFFICER
In the “heat of the moment” you may panic or lose your cool once pulled over for a speeding or other moving violation, but the right behavior and attitude might make the difference between a warning and an actual ticket.
TREAT THE OFFICER WITH RESPECT
It is never a good idea to argue with the officer or make light of the situation, ALWAYS speak politely and maintain a calm demeanor.
PULL THE CAR OVER AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE
Don’t give the officer the impression that you are unaware you are being pulled over. Delaying the inevitable will convey a negative attitude and disrespect towards the officer.
YOUR VEHICLE SHOULD BE TURNED OFF
You do not want to give the impression that you are in a hurry to leave or that you might flee suddenly.
Once stopped, KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE WHEEL, IN PLAIN SIGHT. You should turn off your radio/tape player/CD and lights before putting your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2. Having your hands in plain sight and resting on the wheel is a sign of respect and reassures the officer that he/she is not risking his/her life by approaching your car. You can get your license, registration and proof of insurance out if and when the officer asks for them.
DO NOT VOLUNTEER ANY INFORMATION. Anything you say may be used against you in court. Conversely, listen closely to the officer and note what he/she says; you may be able to use it in your defense in court. OBSERVE the officer’s vehicle and uniform. If he/she is not in a marked vehicle and a proper uniform, you have an excellent speed trap defense.